A Japanese insurance company claims to have seen a spike in policies taken out by men who wish to protect themselves from accusations of groping women on public transport.
The 6,400 yen ($57) ‘false groping accusation’ benefit plan was initially set up in 2015 by the Small Amount and Short Term Insurance company to cover any legal cost for policy-holders who find themselves on the wrong end of a groping charge.
According to Japan’s Mainichi newspaper, the plan was originally supposed to be a fringe benefit under which fees for any legal consultation – including domestic or traffic accidents – were covered.
However, the firm’s helpline service – which alerts lawyers in the vicinity of an alleged groping incident – has proved a success with customers.
Contracts for the groping policy had previously been steady at fewer than 50 per month, but in the past month they apparently multiplied to several hundred.
Japan’s transport system has an unfortunate reputation for being unsafe for women, with about 1,800 arrests made each year for groping under public nuisance laws.
Warnings about rush-hour sex pests appear on posters and even television campaigns. Some networks operate women-only train carriages at peak times.
The insurance company’s president Shoji Sugimoto said: “It is impossible to know whether one will be caught up in a groping incident. We are here to provide help to people who feel anxious about the issue.”